Despite slow economy, some towboat yards still built several boats


Several inland shipyards saw no shortage of towboat orders in 2011 and some made several multi-boat deliveries to new and repeat customers. Among the 2011 deliveries were a mix of long-range line boats and local service boats.

The largest was the 6,140-hp Paul Tobin, delivered to the Ohio River division of AEP River Operations by Gulf Island Marine Fabricators in Houma, La. It is the last in a series of 10 166-by-48-by-11-foot towboats designed by Corning Townsend of CT Marine, in Edgecomb, Maine. Like the others, it is powered by a pair of General Motors (EMD) 12-710 Tier II diesel engines. The 108-inch, five-blade stainless steel propellers from Sound Propeller turn in stainless steel nozzles from Rice Propulsion through Lufkin reduction gears with a ratio of 4.345:1.

Electric power comes from a pair of Tier II John Deere-powered 175-kW generators.

Horizon Shipbuilding has delivered the 4,640-hp Brees to Florida Marine Transporters. The 120-foot boat has an operating draft of 9 feet. A John Gilbert-designed pushboat, Brees is named after the New Orleans Saints quarterback.

Five of the boats in the series were constructed by Quality Shipyards in Houma, La., with the first one being delivered in 2008. The final five were built by Gulf Island.

Paul Tobin features a superstructure with the forward crew quarters and galley, all isolated from the hull via 35 seismic-grade anti-vibration springs to isolate the crew from engine- and gear-induced noise and vibration.

Also joining the AEP River Operations fleet in 2011 was a pair of 2,000-hp towboats from Marine Builders Inc., of Utica, Ind. The two boats — Joe B. Ward and Matt Lagarde — measure 70 by 28 feet with an operating draft of 8.5 feet. The pilothouse eye level is 32 feet.

They are the last in a series of six similar towboats built for J. Russell Flowers Inc. for lease to AEP River Operations. The final two deliveries ––feature an extra stateroom behind the pilothouse to accommodate a larger crew because these two boats operate on extended runs along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway between Mobile, Ala., and Brownsville, Texas.

Push power comes from a pair of 1,000-hp Caterpillar 3508C diesels that the company says are capable of running on biodiesel fuel. Electric power is supplied by a pair of John Deere-powered 65-kW Marathon generators.

Fuel capacity is 22,000 gallons.

Joe B. Ward is named in honor of AEP’s sales and logistics coordinator for the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and Tenn-Tom Waterway. Matt Lagarde is named in honor of the veteran AEP port captain of fleet operations.

Horizon Shipbuilding delivered two more towboats to Florida Marine Transporters (FMT), of Mandeville, La., in 2011. The 4,640-hp Brees and the 6,000-hp Louis Develle are the latest in a series of John Gilbert-designed pushboats to come from the busy Bayou La Batre shipyard. The twin-screw Brees is the third in a series of five Caterpillar diesel-powered vessels and is named in honor of Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints quarterback named most valuable player of the 2010 Super Bowl.

The Rock Island District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has taken delivery of the twin-screw 1,200-hp Rock Island. Patti Marine Enterprises of Panama City, Fla., built the boat last year along with a sister vessel, Clinton.

Powered by a pair of Caterpillar 280-6 diesel engines, each rated at 2,320 hp, turning five-blade 99-inch stainless steel propellers on 10-inch shafts through Lufkin reduction gears, Brees measures 120 by 35 by 11 feet with an operating draft of 9 feet.

With an eye level of 33 feet 5 inches, the vessel is designed for a crew of up to nine people while assigned to operations along the inland rivers, handling up to 180,000-barrel unit tows. However, its 120-foot length will also allow it to work comfortably along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway canal system with up to four 30,000-barrel barges.

Electric power comes from a pair of Caterpillar-powered 175-kW generators.

The 6,000-hp Louis Develle is powered by a pair of EMD 12-710G7 diesels turning 99-inch, five-blade stainless steel propellers through Twin Disc reduction gears. It is designed to handle barges in the company’s expanding chemical and dry-bulk transportation fleet.

It boasts a 33-foot-10-inch eye level and can accommodate a crew of up to nine. The 140-by-42-by-12-foot vessel maintains a 9-foot operating draft but can safely clear bridges with a 41-foot-3-inch restriction by folding down the navigation light mast atop the pilothouse. The fuel-efficient EMD engines are estimated to burn up to 600 gallons less fuel each per day while delivering 400 more horsepower per engine, compared with the very capable but thirstier EMD 16-645E5 diesels that were common on many older towboats.

Lube oil consumption is also expected to be much less, at 13 gallons per day per engine, compared with 40 gallons per day, according to FMT.

Both boats are equipped with two 40-ton and two 60-ton Patterson deck winches and Schoellhorn-Albrecht capstans with custom hull fender protection from Schuyler. They also feature a Hiller Sapphire CO2 fire suppression system.

Horizon is building more of these boats for FMT with the delivery of Big D scheduled for delivery this year and more coming in 2013.

Intracoastal Iron Works, of Bourg, La., delivered the first of two Cummins-powered towboats to LeBeouf Bros. Towing LLC of Houma, La. The twin-screw Donnie Sonier followed the Mitsubishi-powered Teddy Meyer delivered earlier in the year by sister company Bourg Dry Dock, also part of the LeBeouf operation, which includes boat and barge construction facilities next to its towing headquarters.

Teddy Meyer measures 95 by 35 feet and is powered with a pair of Mitsubishi S12R-Y2MPTK, 12-cylinder, 49-liter diesels. They are rated at 1,260 hp each at 1,600 rpm through Reintjes WAF 665 freestanding reduction gears with a ratio of 5.95:1.

The 6,000-hp pushboat Louis Develle was built by Horizon Shipbuilding for Florida Marine Transporters. The 140-foot vessel can pass under bridges with a 41-foot-3-inch restriction by folding down the navigation light mast atop the pilothouse.

Donnie Sonier measures 72 by 30 feet and is powered by a pair of 1,000-hp Cummins KTA38-M diesels through Reintjes reduction gears with a ratio of 6:1.

They were designed by veteran naval architect, Frank Basile of Entech & Associates, also in Houma. Basile is credited with designing most of the pushboats in the LeBeouf Bros. fleet.

Intracoastal Iron Works is building another Basile-designed, Cummins-powered, 72-footer for LeBeouf Bros. for delivery this year. It will be named Boo Sonier.

Patti Marine Enterprises of Panama City, Fla., also produced multiple boats for a returning customer: The Rock Island District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers took delivery of two boats that replaced older and smaller boats with the same name.

The twin-screw 1,200-hp Rock Island was delivered in June 2011 and a sister vessel, Clinton, was delivered in November of last year.

Rock Island works from the Rock Island District’s Pleasant Valley, Iowa, facility about 10 miles from district headquarters and Clinton is assigned to the district’s Structures Maintenance Unit.

Both boats measure 65 by 24 feet with an operating draft of 8.5 feet. They are powered by a pair of Caterpillar C-18B diesel engines turning five-blade, 54-inch stainless steel Michigan propellers through Twin Disc MGX-516 reduction gears with a ratio of 4.01:1.

By Professional Mariner Staff